Tutsi "Catch them young" (The Story)



Introduction
In the past, GAOFI started an endeavor to equip young girls who sell sex with occupational skills in the area of Beauty Therapy at FC Beauty College. Though successful, we saw the need to completely prevent young girls from resorting to sex for money as a source of livelihood hence birthing the new and preventive measure “Tutsi” initiative.

Tutsi project focuses on young rural school girls between the ages of 9-16yrs and empowers them to go into vocational and entrepreneurial training in order to help them economically and also prevent them from resorting to sex trade.It is a strategy meant to “prevent fire” instead of “fighting fire”. As part of the project, 10 girls will be chosen each year to be mentored by women entrepreneurs in their vocation or business areas during a week’s stay in Accra.

Launch
The official launch of the project was held on May 14, 2014 at Keta Secondary School and was attended by 140 schoolchildren from 14 beneficiary schools.  The Municipal Chief Executive for Keta, Mr. Sylvester Torneayavah graced the occasion and it also attracted traditional rulers, government officials, parents and teachers.

Mr. Torneayavah lauded the efforts of GAOFI to promote the well-being of the girl-child. He gave the assurance that the Municipal Assembly would provide budgetary support for the smooth roll-out of the project in 2015.

The Founder and President of GAOFI, Mrs. Grace Amey-Obeng, said since the inception of its activities in 2007, has been involved in efforts to prevent young girls from engaging in the sex trade.

The Way Forward: Innovation Centres
As a measure of sustenance, monitoring and evaluation of the project, Tutsi Innovation Centres (TIC) would be set up at Blemazado, Woe and Blekuso, all in the Keta Municipality, to offer training in ICT, vocational skills, photography among others.

This is to keep the girls busy with learning practical skills which they can offer to people in their locality for a fee. For instance those who are trained in bead-making can sell the beads and sell them in their communities as a form of economic empowerment. In effect, instead of giving their bodies off for money, they could sell the items to take care of their needs.

All 140 pupils who attended the ceremony were presented with certificates of participation, as well as books and clothing donated by individuals and corporate bodies.

Companies that donated items included the FC Group, Edlorm Villas, Glory Oil, Dziram Eye Clinic, Prime Logistics, Xellers Groceries, Riversyl, Girlfriends, Bambino, Everpure, Eden Tree, Fobasca, E toys & more, AABN, Star oil, uniBank and Traffix Catering Services.

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